Vanilla Bean & Bourbon Bundt Cake
Alternately titled The Cheesecake Tartlets That Just Weren’t Meant To Be.
Sometimes I get these ideas for recipes in my head that I want to make just because they will look so cute. This past weekend I found myself with 2lbs of fresh from the farm strawberries that were begging to be featured in a dessert. Then I got an idea. Picture this: Little mini cheesecake tarts with fluted edges, topped with bright red fresh strawberries. Cute, right? Except they just were not meant to be. First, I forgot to buy the tartlet pans when I was in town, only realizing it after I got home 30 minutes away. Ugh. So back in the car I went to make another hour round trip… only to find the store didn’t have the pans in stock anyway! Double ugh.
At that point I resigned myself to making the Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake I’d seen in the April issue of Bon Apetit the night before. (I’m really behind on my magazine reading.) It didn’t sound exciting or cute, but it didn’t require any special pans I didn’t have, so it would do.
Well don’t let the name fool you like it did me. This cake is amazing. Chocolate is and always will be my favorite, but I find myself eating this cake two slices at a time. The warm vanilla aroma with hints of cinnamon is positively heavenly. The crumb is fine but sturdy, tender and moist. Each bite leads to another and another and another. I really can’t think of any cake better suited to accompany farm fresh berries.
This cake may be vanilla, but it is anything but boring!
Vanilla Bean & Bourbon Bundt Cake
Adapted from Bon Apetit, April 2010
The vanilla extract is optional. I added it because my vanilla bean was dry and difficult to get the seeds out of. If you have good vanilla beans you can probably skip it. For the bourbon, I used the good stuff – Maker’s Mark.
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons skim milk
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 dashes of cinnamon (optional)
2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2-3 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray regular 10″ bundt pan with baking spray.
Measure bourbon into a small bowl or shot glass. Slice vanilla bean in half and using the back of a knife, scrape out the seeds. Stir vanilla bean seeds into bourbon and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and milk. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Beat in bourbon vanilla mixture and optional vanilla extract, if using. Add half of the flour mixture, beating until combined, then add sour cream mixture. Once incorporated, add remaining half of flour mixture and mix just until combined.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and using a spatula, smooth top even. Bake at 325°F for 45-55 minutes, or until lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, cream, vanilla and optional cinnamon (if using) in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. If needed, add milk in 1/4 teaspoon increments until glaze is thick but pourable. Place wax paper or aluminum foil under cake still on cooling rack. Drizzle glaze over cake and let stand at room temperate to set, about 15 minutes.
Toss strawberries and sugar in a bowl to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour until juices form.
Store cake covered at room temperature. To serve, cut cake into wedges and serve topped with strawberries and fresh mint.